The five costly mistakes an auto accident attorney MUST avoid to settle a claim
This is directed to all personal injury attorneys who are interested in increasing the value of a settlement and avoid wasteful and "long" negotiation periods with the insurance adjusters.
April 5, 2013 -- Orange County, Los Angeles County -- The statute of limitations in California for an auto accident claim is 2 years. Interestingly enough the insurance carriers do not mind waiting that long as most follow the 3D philosophy: delay, deny and defend.
Here are the mistakes to avoid::
- Do not have clients wait for the police reports prior to having clients be evaluated by the medical professional. A police report takes 2 weeks on average to be produced. Ironically the insurance carriers do not believe that the client has been injured if he/she did not take immediate action to be evaluated. Medical documentation is necessary to objectify injury; especially if the patient/client suffers from ligament and disc tears, fractures and mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) http://oclsi.net/injury40.html
- Do not accept body shop estimates contracted by the third party -- Cardinal mistake as the body shop that is contracted with the carrier will typically minimize the damage to the plaintiffs’ vehicle by providing a low repair estimate. In this case the client is to get a second and maybe third opinion at an independent body shop or a dealer for the make of the particular vehicle for frame damage.
- Do not chose a medical practitioner who is unfamiliar with the personal injury arena, specifically unfamiliar with the Colossus system (http://assets1.csc.com/p_and_c_general_insurance/downloads/Colossus_Myths_Facts_1293PC13e_T.pdf)
- Be aware of doctors whose reports are subjective in nature. Auto accidents injuries are to be well documented by knowledgeable medical providers whose reports corroborate -- Lack of corroboration will lead to missed diagnoses, inconsistent findings and lower settlements. The physicians are to communicate with each other and if need be, provide supplemental addendum reports. For example, an X-ray or MRI study may have missed a significant objective finding missed by a radiologist. This finding is to be discussed on a peer to peer review and clarified in a supplemental report (http://oclsi.net/injury46.html) . It is the job of the plaintiff attorney to gather all objective records prior to settlement as the documentation of injury will increase the value of each settlement.
- Do not wait for the claims adjuster to call for a settlement offer, it may take two years -- It is recommended that an in-house policy be developed to settle each auto accident claim within three months of medical release. Work with a physician’s office that communicates well and provides records within 24 hours from the time of request (http://oclsi.net/injury794.html). The final medical reports may need more time but no later than 3 - 4 weeks from the time of release.
- Contact Information
- Ali Mostafavi
- OC Laser and Spine Institute
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